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The Inside Edge: Bradley takes mound for Royals

Reigning U.S. champ throws out first pitch at Aug. 15 game vs. Yankees

Nancy Kerrigan with her children Nicole, Brian and Matthew
Nancy Kerrigan with her children Nicole, Brian and Matthew (Sarah Brannen)

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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to icenetwork.com
(08/25/2011) - Ryan Bradley threw out the first pitch of a Kansas City Royals game on Aug. 15.

"When I was a little boy, my dad used to take me to Royals games," he said. "I was a big fan. I wanted to pitch for the Royals."

After Bradley won the U.S. title in January, his agent made some calls to the Royals and told them he was a fan.

"We found a good week when I was down there in Kansas City teaching some seminars," Bradley said. "I trained quite a bit, playing catch with my dad. We went to a few baseball diamonds."

There was a big crowd at the game since the Royals were playing the Yankees. Bradley said he got the ball over the plate, but it wasn't a strike.

"It was very fun, but it was very quick. I waited for an hour, and then the moment was about 12 seconds -- like an extreme version of skating," he said. "I was really nervous. Then we got to stay and watch the game. It was a great experience."

The Royals lost the game, 7-4.

Bradley was talking to us by phone from Sun Valley on the afternoon before he performed in the weekly summer show there, and he said he loves the town.

"It might be my favorite place on earth," Bradley said. "It's a very small town, kind people, beautiful surroundings. I could totally live up here."

Kerrigan and kids

Nancy Kerrigan brought her whole family to the rink a couple of weeks ago for a photo shoot for SKATING magazine, in connection with National Skating Month. (Watch the magazine for a couple stories later this year). Kerrigan looked beautiful and svelte in her red U.S. Figure Skating warm-up jacket. She did a few jumps, a back scratch spin and her pretty trademark spiral.

The kids, Nicole, 3, Brian, 6, and Matthew, 14, all put on skates for the photos. Matthew used to take lessons and got as far as an Axel jump -- a good one, according to his mother. We talked about what it's like when kids get better at sports than their parents.

"I'm horrible at bowling," Kerrigan confessed. "Matthew beat me when he was 3. My mother beats me, and she's blind!"

Matthew used to travel with his mother when he was little and she was in a lot of shows, and he said he loved living on the tour bus. "We traveled a lot more than other people than I knew," he said. "I think it really hit me when she was sitting there and everybody was like, 'Oh, can I get your autograph? Can I get your autograph?' and there was a whole big line. And I was like, 'Oh, wow, people really know who my mom is, this is so weird.'"

What would Kerrigan think if Nicole followed her into competitive skating?

"She actually likes gymnastics a lot too, and she wants to do dancing," Nancy said. "She's very girly."

Katz and Lynch split

Chloe Katz and Joseph Lynch have announced the end of their partnership. Lynch told us that he will be taking a break from skating and working toward his degree at NYU online.

"I am staying in Michigan and am unsure of my future plans in the sport," he said. "We would like to thank Adam Leib, our original coach, for having a vision and pairing us together, as well as Adrienne Lenda and Johnny Johns for helping us to reach our potential. We would also like to thank our family, friends and all of our fans, as well as U.S. Figure Skating, for all their support throughout the years."

Sky-high proposal

Melissa Bulanhagui got engaged on Aug. 13 at the top of Pike's Peak in Colorado. Her fiancé, Nick Baroco, is an E4 senior airman with the U.S. Air Force, stationed in Fort Carson, Colo., until he deploys to Afghanistan in September. Bulanhagui has been training in Colorado Springs to be near him.

"We've known each other since high school, but we didn't date in high school," Bulanhagui told us by telephone. "We've been official for this past year."

On the morning of Aug. 13, Baroco served Bulanhagui breakfast in bed before a planned excursion to Pike's Peak.

"I could tell that he was a little bit nervous," Bulanhagui said. "He brought me to the top of the mountain, and I'm just looking at the view, and he took my hand and said, 'From here you can see the end of the earth, and I brought you here because I'm going to love you 'til the end of the earth.' Then he got down on one knee and said, 'Melissa Carmen Bulanhagui, will you marry me?' To finish the day, we had dinner at the beautiful Craftwood Inn and sat at the same table in front of the fireplace where we celebrated our six-month anniversary. It was the perfect day."

The couple plans to wed next year, after Baroco returns from Afghanistan.

26.2 miles

Brittney Rizo, who finished seventh at the 2009 U.S. Championships, will be joining more than 8,500 walkers in the 23rd annual Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk on Sept. 18. She will be walking for a teacher, mentor and friend, Kyle Piazza, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma at the age of 26.

"It is an honor to walk for someone who motivated me to be the best possible person I could be," she emailed. "Now it is time for me to give back that inspiration and positivity, when he needs it most. Cancer affects everyone in one way or another, and I am honored to be walking for such an admirable educator and for someone who has helped me so much throughout the years."

Rizo is going into her third year at Northeastern University; she's majoring in English and minoring in law, policy and Society. She took seven months off from skating but says she has started again, and she and MIT student Curran Oi plan to skate at an intercollegiate competition in the spring.

To learn more about the Jimmy Fund walk, or to sponsor Rizo, visit www.jimmyfundwalk.org.

Sold out

"An Evening with Champions," starring Yu-Na Kim, has sold out non-sponsor tickets for both shows, Oct. 15 and 16. Some sponsorship packages, including prime seats, are still available. Visit www.aneveningwithchampions.org for more information.

Best of luck (with earthquakes and hurricanes) to all,
Sarah and Drew
sarahanddrewblog@gmail.com
Follow us on Twitter for pictures of Melissa Bulanhagui's proposal at twitter.com/SarahandDrew.